Released in November of 1995, Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" was in many ways anachronistic. In both subject and sound, it was like nothing else on the radio. It defied the cynicism and apathy of Generation X; it challenged the aesthetic expectations for a "pop song" (or even a "protest song"), fusing blues, opera, rock and gospel; and it demanded accountability in an era of corporate greed, globalization and environmental indifference. A massive hit globally (reaching #1 in over fifteen countries), it wasn't even offered as a single in the United States. Yet nearly two decades later, it stands as one of Jackson's greatest artistic achievements.
In this groundbreaking monograph, author Joseph Vogel (Man in the Music: The Creative Life & Work of Michael Jackson) details the song's context and evolution from its inception in Vienna in 1988, to its release and reception in 1995, to Jackson's final live performance in Munich in 1999. Based on original research, including interviews with the song's key participants, Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson's Magnum Opus offers a fascinating reassessment of this prophetic musical statement.